UK weather: four children rescued by helicopter in Scotland as storms are forecast to bring in the new year

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain on New Year's Day in areas including western Scotland and southern England

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The Independent Online

The chaos caused by the heavy rain continued as seven people were airlifted to safety to escape flooding in Scotland, with more storms forecast across the UK.

Four children and three adults were rescued by a Royal Navy helicopter from a farmhouse near Closeburn in Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway, after rain forced families to be evacuated from dozens of homes and caused major road disruption.

Around 65 houses were evacuated in south western Scotland after the River Nith burst its banks. Police have advised motorists in the area to travel only if necessary and to check routes in advance if travel is essential.

Further disruption looks set to come, as The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for rain on New Year's Day.

The latest severe weather front is set to push in from the Atlantic, and will sweep across the UK from west to east.

It is feared there could be localised flooding in the south west and south east of England, with flood warnings being issued by the Environment Agency, as already-sodden land is expected to struggle to contain additional rainfall.

Councils are preparing for the worst by organising emergency accommodation for residents forced to leave their homes.

Met Office spokesman Dan Williams said: “There is a big band of rain that will bring persistent rain to most parts of the UK through the day on Wednesday. It will be a pretty wet and windy day.

"It won't be on a par with the winds we've seen in some of the recent storms, but exposed areas of the western coast and some of the south coast will see speeds of 50 to 60mph.

"There could be a fair amount of rain in the south and south west of England, with 10-20mm falling fairly widely, and up to 40mm in coastal areas."

The Environment Agency asked people who are travelling to check the latest flood updates ahead of journeys and not to drive through dangerous floodwater.

People seeking advice on what to do before, during and after flooding are advised to visit the Environment Agency website or to call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.